Poke the Box, Self-Development, Growth, Improvement, Business Mentoring, Business Coaching

Book Review: Poke The Box by Seth Godin

Want to give yourself a kick in the butt? Need  inspiration so you can move forward and create results? Poke the Box by Seth Godin is book to help you that person who needs that little push to get them going again.

When you look at the cover of the book, it asks you ‘When was the last time you did something for the first time?’  That caused me to reflect when was the last time I tried something new? When was the last time I felt uncomfortable? As an entrepreneur, it gets harder to become uncomfortable because it is a common feeling.

The largest take away from Poke The Box is the separation of people into 2 general groups.

Poke The Box Do-er:

Some people are programmed to take action. They map out future  activities or not, they ask for help or not, but in the end, they do what is required. These people are not dreamers, happy with the status quo, or lazy. They want to get their fingers dirty, build something, and leave an impact.

Poke The Box Dreamer:

Some people would rather sit back and think, think, and think some more. Maybe they like status quo. Many people don’t like change. Change is not something that we do the best naturally. It is also much easier to dream then to get up and create change.

Where would you but yourself? As a Do-er or Dreamer?

Have an awesome week.

Kevin

Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (http://www.l6sbc.ca/). L6S offers services in business mentorship and Lean & Lean Six Sigma management with either project work or mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for the South Edmonton Business Association, the Fringe Festival, and Goodwill Industries of Alberta and donates blood at the Canadian Blood Services.

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Enterprise Resource Planning, ERP, Computers, Systems,

Best-in-Class vs ERP Suite

Below, please find a blog posting from a referral partner of L6S Business Consulting, Josh Szakal of Black River Technologies.

The age old decision between choosing a Best-in-Class software solution vs an All-in-One Suite package is a heated topic that should be at the forefront of your mind when selecting a software solution.

Before making the decision, you first need to understand what the key differences are. The aim of a traditional suite software package is to provide businesses with one stop shopping for all their software needs. In the world of ERP software, suite vendors provide solutions that handle everything from financial management, and point-of-sale, to CRM.

The benefit of moving forward with a suite software package is that all of your data is located in one place, and integration between applications is handled by one developer. On the flip-side, the biggest downside to suite packages is that they are usually ‘a mile wide and an inch deep’. You may take comfort in the fact that you have an all-in-one solution that handles your entire business, but might soon find that the functionality you really wanted is seriously lacking. Restricting yourself to a suite software package restricts you the R&D efforts of its software developer, which is likely spread over a wide range of products, instead of focusing on one specific area that makes them best-in-class.

A Best-In-Class software solution on the other hand strives to be the best in one area of significance and focuses all of its efforts in this one area. Choosing a best-in-class approach allows you to choose the best solution for each part of your business, enabling you to get the most out of software automation. Using Intacct as an example, financial management is the #1 priority of software development. The solution provides greater functionality and flexibility with respect to your finance and reporting needs, and offers integration to other software systems where applicable. Take Salesforce.com as an example. This software is the leader in providing CRM solutions to its customers, and seamlessly integrates with the Intacct Quote-to-Cash process, allowing the experts to focus on their respective areas of functionality where they each do extremely well.

We at Black River Technologies believe that a best-in-class approach is the direction your organization needs to take to truly excel in your business processes. This is the approach that is going to allow you the freedom to make the right decisions with respect to software automation at each stage in your business’s growth cycle.

Want to learn more about what best-in-class ERP software has in store for your organization? Click here to learn how to elevate your ERP experience!

UnMarketing, Relationships, People, Interaction, Engagement, Social Selling

UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging

UnMarketing, Relationships, People, Interaction, Engagement, Social Selling

Relationships, People, Interaction, Engagement, Social Selling

The latest ‘trending’ word in business is ‘Social Selling’. As per Wikipedia, social selling is known to be ‘the process of developing relationships as part of the sales process’.1  Social selling is essentially the same thing as developing a relationship….but on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter. UnMarketing is all about ‘social selling’ or building a relationship.

A friend recently lent me the book “UnMarketing” by Scott Stratten (Twitter: @unmarketing) which is all about engaging and building relationships on social media and in the real world. Social selling is important because it develops a strong relationship has trust between the members.

I had a great experience with social selling a few years ago. On my Twitter account (@L6SBC), I had a follower ask their network a few times for help on being connected with people with a certain skill set. Each time I saw these tweets, I would respond by tagging people within my network that could fulfil the request.  One day, I received a direct message from this person. She ask me if I could help her with a business plan. I said sure, I would love to help since I have done a 1,000 or so plans.

Upon our first meeting, I asked why she sent me a direct message about helping her with her business plan. She responded by saying that as a result of the great leads I have give her, she knew she could trust me. I built up a relationship of giving value to her rather than taking from her. I filled her trust bucket, therefore, she was willing to use it with me.  Relationship built online..taken offline equals success.

UnMarketing is great business book for anyone at any level. Wondering why? Well, here it is.

Social Media & Marketing

UnMarketing takes you back to basics to teach you the  ‘simple’things. Do you know why someone buys from you? Is there a gap between your marketing and target market? What is the difference between Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn anyways? The platforms are each different, therefore, the audiences are different.

Tool Kit

Different tools are introduced, from Hootsuite to HARO, to help build up your platform or community.  These tools can be used to help manage and grow your community on social media, and even extend into the traditional media world.

The Power of…

UnMarketing takes you into real world examples of  the power of social media. The cafeterias at Tufts University uses Twitter to help increase their level of customer service and gain relevant and timely feedback. Another example is given of a coffee shop and how not to interact with your paying customers.  Various other examples are given in regards to how relationships and trust can help make or break a current or future transaction. I am sure that you are aware, but customers engage with people that offer an experience.

Authenticity

When online, don’t take on another personality. Don’t be who you think your prospective customer pictures you to be. Be yourself. Be authentic and transparent. I consistently speak with someone on my personal Twitter account (@k_macd11) who is great to engage with. We had lunch and it was a world of difference. Due to the results of that lunch, I will admit, I never want to see that person in real life again…I am happy to keep them on Twitter.

Remember, at one time or another, you will want to meet that person in real life. If that is the case, you should be yourself right from the start.

Being yourself can be extended to how you interact with your community. I know a few people that are comfortable to cameras therefore they respond to tweets using video. It fits their personality and they are comfortable with who they are on camera.

Channels

Different channels for meeting new people and growing your business are also covered in UnMarketing. Have you ever thought about doing seminars? What about tele-seminars or trade shows? You have enough information to get start on each, as the time is right for you.

I highly recommend that every entrepreneur picks up UnMarketing, writes in it, and take notes. Relationships are the foundation of any business, whether you know it or not. As we become a more technology drive world, precious human relationships will become the point of differentiation for many businesses. Think of the brands that you enjoy the most. How do they treat you? How do they make you feel?

Have you read UnMarketing? What was your biggest takeaway? What are other business books that you would recommend?

Have a great week.

Kevin

Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for the South Edmonton Business Association, the Fringe Festival, Goodwill Industries of Alberta and donates blood at the Canadian Blood Services.

 

 

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_selling

Book Review: The Remedy

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The Remedy

There are few business concepts which are applicable across any company in any industry. From solopreneurs to multi-national conglomerates, the principles of Lean Management are a tool to improve the culture of a company.

I recently got the chance to read “The Remedy” by Pascal Dennis, which is a real life story about how lean was applied across a large car manufacturer.

Lean is predominantly known to be a process to decrease waste within manufacturing processes. Through the travels of Tom and his sensei Andy, stories are told on how Lean Management is applied within non-manufacturing settings.  The reader is taken through a journey where common obstacles of dealing with a company that is heavily placed into silos, non-communitive, and insular culture are dealt with. You get the opportunity to see how Lean Management can be applied in the non-manufacturing departments of Human Resources, Marketing, Product Development, and Accounting.

The reader is introduced to many of the basic concepts and terminology of Lean Management (for example the 8 types of waste) in the style where Tom, the plant manager of the shining star of Taylor Motors, is taken from his current role to lead the development and launch of a new car, originally known as the Defiant.

If you want to learn more about Lean Management, this would be an ‘average’ book to pick up. The Japanese terminology is used throughout the book which can make things confusing at time. There are great animations throughout the book, but at times, too many. It gave the feeling that you were reading a Pictionary book at times.

I personally don’t see this book as being a good starting point if you are a novice to Lean Management. Lean is best learnt within a manufacturing setting since the subject matter can be visibly seen. The author previously wrote “Andy & Me” which details the journey of transforming a manufacturing plant towards being Lean. This book would be a good starting point.

Do you have any books about Lean and Lean Management that you recommend?

Have an awesome week.

Kevin

Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for the South Edmonton Business Association, the Fringe Festival, Goodwill Industries of Alberta and donates blood at the Canadian Blood Services.

United, Airlines, Airports, Viral

Volunteering at United

The newest corporate public relations blunder now belongs to United Continental Airlines (United). I am sure that Pepsi is very happy to pass the hat onto another corporate citizen.

What Happened

It is ‘commonly known’, in some circles, that airlines will oversell their flights to ensure that they are full at time of departure. United follows the same practice. This practice came to a head for a flight from Chicago to Louisville on April 10th. United staff asked for 4 people to voluntarily give up their seats to accommodate the airline. 3 people volunteered while the 4th person was violently removed from their seat. From a memo off the desk of the CEO of United, Oscar Munoz, the person was ‘re-accommodated’.

Airlines commonly overbook their flights, for multiple reasons. According to the US Department of Transportation, in 2016, less than 1 in 10,000 were involuntarily bumped from the major US airlines. In 2016, this happened to United passengers at a rate of 0.43 per 10,000. It happened on American Airlines at a rate of 0.64 and at Southwest Airlines to 0.99 persons per 10,000.

Why Did It Happen

Overbooking happens for a number of reasons. None, however, can explain the events that occurred.

Resource Allocation: A flight leaving from Louisville had 4 members of its flight crew in Chicago. This is a reason why 4 seats were required. Did United not have any flight crews in Louisville that they could have used? Are their flight crews centrally located in certain locations or based off flight schedule and needs? Overall, did the schedule of the flight crews have then in the correct place?

Leadership: The CEO of United, Oscar Munoz, sent out a memo to staff after the event blaming the passenger for actions which is not seen in any of the footage that was captured. The CEO mention in the memo that the passenger was violent and belligerent. A properly written memo could have helped the situation but instead, gas was poured on the fire. If an employee of mine treats a customer that way, I would take ownership of the situation right away. It can be assumed that staff were not properly trained. That is a responsibility of the CEO. I understand that it was Chicago Airport Police that removed the person but United staff should have been trained on various methods to help get passengers to volunterily give up their seat. I have seen it happen effectively.

KPIs: United is a publicly traded company. Shareholders are constantly looking at the numbers to see how their investment is performing. Revenue per Available Seat and Passenger Miles Flown are key indicators on the health of an airline. Why does this create overbooking? If there is no passenger in the seat, the miles flown per passenger are negatively affected. When travelling, I have waited more than once for a fellow passenger to board the place. By overbooking, airlines are ensuring that there is a person in every seat.

Sensitivity: Consumers are rarely loyal to a certain airline. They will change airlines to save $5. If you don’t have any loyalty to an airline or are constantly purchasing the cheapest flight possible, you are increasing your chance of getting bumped out of your seat.

Legality: Airlines are allowed to overbook their flights and they are also ALLOWED to remove someone from a plane. In the purchasing contracts of Canadian airlines, however, it does not state how a person could be removed from the plane. Based on this assumption, the acts which happened on United are allowed and legal.

Internet Reaction

As you can imagine, the reaction from the Internet, specifically Twitter, was very fast. Videos of the event were online hours after the event occurred. It is possible that videos were posted even before the plane departed Chicago.

Social Media, Reaction, United, Overbooked

Some reaction from Twitter in regards to the United flight.

Stock Market Reaction

Shareholders of United firstly saw the event in a positive light by bidding up the price of the stock. When reading the headlines, the focus was most probably on the fact that United was overbooking their flights. A great problem for business is to have too many customers. As I am writing this the day after the event, United’s stock price has already decreased by 4%.

Overbooking, United

United’s Stock increase after word of event spread

Operating in the airline industry is not an easy task. There is a high capital investment along with the fact that one of your largest costs, jet fuel and airport fees, are largely controlled by third parties. Overbooking of flights is not something that will stop in the near future. Airlines have lost their sensitivity to consumer demands and views…mostly because consumers have trained them to be that way.  Even after dragging a bleeding and paying customer off one of their planes, United is still flying today and will for some time.

Did you know that airlines commonly overbook their flights? If you were a CEO of airlines, would you look at stopping the overbooking of flights? How would you do it so your financials are not compromised?

Kevin

Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting (www.l6sbc.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for the South Edmonton Business Assocation, the Fringe Festival, Goodwill Industries of Alberta and donates blood at the Canadian Blood Services.

Marketing In a Weak Economy

This article was originally published on the BusinessLink’s website.

Small Business Week (Oct 16-22) is an exciting time for entrepreneurs with great events across Canada offering small business owners multiple opportunities to learn and connect. One of the many events that I attended was organized by Business Link named “Ignite Small Business Week YEG: Marketing in this Economy!?”

The highlight of the event was to hear Randy Brososky from the Group of Rogues speak about how companies should market themselves during a period of weaker economic growth. I have heard Randy speak before and I knew that he would bring great knowledge to business owners to help them grow their business.

SOLVE A PROBLEM

When you are looking to market your company and its offering, remember: “To a fish, the universe is water.” In terms of your company, you truthfully have to look at yourself from the viewpoint of your customer. What problem(s) are you solving? Are you making the purchasing process logical or emotional? Are you tying these items together to make it easier for your customer to choose you?

WHAT ARE YOU REALLY SELLING?

Rolls-Royce is well known for selling cars but they also make jet engines. They understand from the view point of their end customer- the more time that a jet can be in the air, the more money airlines make. With that in mind, Rolls-Royce does not ‘sell’ a jet engine; they sell time in the air. They repair their engines for free. The only time that Rolls-Royce charge for their engines is when that engine is flying in the air.

FIVE TIPS FOR MARKETING IN A SLOW ECONOMY

Here’s what marketing guru Randy Brososky shared at the event:

1. CUSTOMER CONNECTION: Stay in touch with your customer but don’t sell to them. By keeping that connection open, when the economy starts to swing upwards, your customer will remember you and go to you first.

2. SHIFT HAPPENS: People shift their spending habits as times change, but are you shifting along with them? 10 years ago, Tim Horton’s coffee could only be bought within their locations. With the shift to home brewing and Keurig cups, Tim Horton’s coffee can now be purchased in grocery stores (or in their locations) in grounded bean format or within Keurig cups.

3. SMART DISCOUNTS: Offer 2 for 1 deals but the deal is only activated after you have involved your customer. For your customer to get a 2 for 1 deal, have them bring a friend. You can also have your customers become brand ambassadors. Offer them discounts when they speak to their community about you.

4. BEAT THE FEAR: Ask your customer what is holding them back from purchasing from you. Hyundai accepted vehicle returns if their customers lost their job during the recession of 2008. They gained market share and saw positive sales growth while other car manufacturers were going bankrupt.

5 NEW VALUE OFFERING: Look at how you can make your customer feel like the centre of the universe. Can you offer a lower cost item to your customer but still solve their problem and fulfill the same emotional desire? Can you sell what you are offering in a different fashion?

Even with a slower economy, companies still do want to increase their top line. At the very least, you can set yourself up for success during the upcoming growth phase by staying in touch with your customer, talking about the value you create, and tapping into your customers’ emotion.

Have an awesome and productive week.

Kevin

Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for the South Edmonton Business Association, the Fringe Festival, and Goodwill Industries of Alberta and donates blood at the Canadian Blood Services.

For help with your business, contact Kevin at kevin@L6SBC.ca or 780-868-1867. You can also follow Kevin on Twitter at @L6SBC or Facebook.com/L6SBC

 

Lose-Lose Relationship

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Everyone in Canada pretty much knows about the latest saga which is currently happening between our federal postal service, Canada Post, and its unionized postal delivery workers. At the time of writing this, the union was holding back from any labour disruptions…for at least a day.

The first labour disruption will involve the union workers not working any overtime hours in Alberta and the North West Territories. This arrangement will slowly roll out across the country. Per a radio interview that I heard, that amounts to just over one hour per week per postal delivery worker. Not a large disruption but it also makes you wonder why they have to work that much overtime over the whole system. That would be the subject for another few blogs since it is a pretty big topic.

I was talking to the postal delivery worker who is in charge of my community postal box last week. To say the least, she is not impressed since she does not know what is going on. As of Friday afternoon, the union had told her that they would be calling all workers Sunday night in regards to their work arrangement for Monday.

In talking to her, she said something that got me thinking. ‘This is a lose-lose situation. We are going to lose income while Canada Post is going to lose clients and revenue”. Currently, Canada Post delivers the last 5 kilometers of a packages’ travels for 66% of online transactions. Online retailers will need to look for alternatives or allow revenue to go to other retailers.

As in the case of many government policies, a labour disruption at Canada Post can be a disruptive event which will cause business to change their operations for long term sustainability.

Would a labour disruption at a postal service affect your company? How would you deal with it?

Have an awesome and productive week.

Kevin

Update as of September 6, 2016: Canada Post and the postal workers have come to a 2 year tentative agreement. Traditionally, they develop a 4 year agreement but the major issues were not fully dealt with. Hopefully, over the next 4 years, Canada Post and its union will be talking about solving their differences.

Update as of September 26, 2016: To my understanding, the vote still hasn’t been called by the union to see if the membership accepts the deal.

Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for different groups and donates platelets at the Canadian Blood Services clinic on a bi-weekly basis.

Kevin is hosting a workshop series known as Entrepreneurial Community Edmonton. The workshops cover different areas of business, including finance, human resources, and collections. You can find more information at http://www.l6sbc.ca/ecyeg.html

For help with your business, contact Kevin at kevin@L6SBC.ca or 780-868-1867. You can also follow Kevin on Twitter at @L6SBC or Facebook.com/L6SBC

That Long Stare

Capture

Every once and a while, you wonder to yourself: ‘Why am I doing this?’; or ‘Why am I putting myself through all of these problems?’

Recently, I was asking myself those same questions. For a number of years, I have participated in the MS Leduc to Camrose Bike Tour which takes 1,500 to 2,000 bikers through a 178 kilometers bike ride to raise funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Alberta.

This last tour was harder than most. Day 1 involved 40+ km/hr wind into our faces along with constant rain. For Day 2, the rain and wind eased up a bit but they were still a factor.

During Day 2, while finding my right knee acting up again, there was a bus parked at thesecond rest stop taking riders to the finish line.

I looked at that bus long and hard for a few minutes.  I kept hearing a voice in my head say ‘You have done it 14 other times, it is okay to give up now.’

In the end, one personal characteristics kicked in: not giving up. As a business owner, if you gave up easily, you wouldn’t be trying to fulfill your dreams. You wouldn’t be doing what you.

If your goal is worth working for; if your dream is worth playing out, don’t give up. The reward at the end will be more than worth it.  Success doesn’t come in 5 minutes. Hard work and hustle are needed.

Have you ever had that long stare at the bus? How did you deal with it?  I would love to hear.

Have an awesome and productive week.

Kevin

Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for different groups and donates platelets at the Canadian Blood Services clinic on a bi-weekly basis.

Kevin is hosting a series of workshop called Entrepreneurial Community Edmonton #ECYEG with the goal of helping entrepreneurs with their business. You can find more information at www.l6sbc.ca/ecyeg

For help with your business, contact Kevin at kevin@L6SBC.ca or 780-868-1867.

Leadership Part 6 of 6

Leadership2

Over the last 5 weeks, I went over 5 of the most common reasons why companies are not successful, according to the Small Business Administration of the United States. You will see that there are some common elements to each of the 6. Feel free to look at the original article here.

Leadership is one of those terms used in business which can be considered a catch all. It is the reason why a project progresses or fails, why a product launch is successful or not, or why a company fails or doesn’t. Lack of leadership is the number 1 reason why a company fails.

In saying this, you don’t have to be the most charismatic, the best speaker, or the most visionary person to be a leader of a company. I won’t go into much detail of what is considered to be a strong leader. I am sure that you can find at least 1,000,000 articles on this subject to help you. But in terms of leadership and the success of the company, how does it have an impact?

Vision: Setting a vision for a company can be a scary task for some people. What if you set goals for your company? Setting those goals becomes a building block to what can turn into your vision in the future. Without that goal or vision, where are you going to be going? It becomes even more important when you have employees. Would you follow someone who is walking about in the great outdoors not knowing where they are going or why they are going for a walk? This ties in to having uniqueness with your company.

Plan:  Now that you have your goals set out, how are you going to reach them? Do you want to offer the best customer service? How are you going to do that? Is it scalable for when you grow? Offering a new product and/or service and believing that it will go viral is not a plan. A local businessman believed that his company was going to go viral once his product or services hit the market. He had no plan on how it was going to happen. To make a long story short, the company is just now starting to get traction in the market place, but nothing near as expected. Don’t forget: develop a budget with your plan.  You don’t want a lack of financial management to be the reason your company does not survive. The development of the budget will help to ensure that the business model which you will be operating under will be sustainable. Lastly, the plan will help to manage your future growth.

Execution: You now have a goal which helps you understand where you want to go and develop a uniqueness with your customer. You have developed a plan (including a budget) which tells you how to get there. Now, it is to sticking to the plan, wherever possible, to attain your goals. That plan, of course, will have some bumps in the road and may require change, especially if you are well connected with your customers and you are receiving feedback that change is needed.

As you can see, leadership or the lack of it is a bi-product of the other top 6 reasons why a company does fail.

Where have you seen strong leadership take a company through dark times to a profitable place? Have you seen leadership being the root cause of a failure? I would love to hear.

Have an awesome week.

Kevin

Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for different groups and donates platelets at the Canadian Blood Services clinic on a bi-weekly basis.

Kevin is hosting three social media workshops at 14920 Stony Plain Rd NW, Edmonton, AB T5P 3X8 (Pura Vida Mind Body Soul). The March 29, 2016 workshop will be about Facebook, April 26, 2016 will be about Twitter, while the May 24, 2016 workshop will be covering LinkedIn. All session run from 6.00pm to 8.30pm. Food and refreshments will be available. Contact Kevin to register.

For help with your business, contact Kevin at kevin@L6SBC.ca or 780-868-1867.

Not in Touch with Customers’ Needs Part 4 of 6

In touch with customer3

Over the last 3 weeks, I went over the 4th, 5th and 6th most common reasons why companies are not successful, according to the Small Business Administration of the United States. You will see that there are some common elements to each of the 6. Feel free to look at the original article here.

Customers are the lifeblood of any business. Without any customers, it is hard to have a sustainable business. The needs of your customers are constantly changing and evolving. At any time, your product or service may fall out of favour with your target market. A competitor may have developed a product which is a replacement to yours. Maybe a product developed by an indirect competitor was able to mitigate or completely solve the problem that your product was servicing. Being out of touch with what your target market is thinking can be a painful experience.

A company that was not in touch with its customers was Blockbuster. As Netflix was becoming more popular and well known, Blockbuster was getting less foot traffic into their stores to rent movies.  According to Blockbuster, people enjoyed the experience of going to a retail space, searching for a movie to watch, and putting the disc into the machine to watch.  Blockbuster did not stay in touch with their service consumer and moved their services into an online basis.

Staying in touch with your consumer does not have to be something overly complicated.

Competition: Watch closely what your competition is doing. Have they unveiled a new product with certain features? Are they growing at a faster rate than the industry or your company?

Feedback:  Add the ability for your consumer to give you feedback on their experience with your company. You can ask for feedback at reception while a second appointment is being booked or send out a very quick survey (4 questions as a maximum) on how your company performed.

Social Media:  Keep in touch and read what consumers are saying about your company and its services. Monitor feedback sites like Yelp. Search social media sites like Twitter and Snapchat to learn what your target market is saying. If you are connected with the correct people, you can get insight on how your product or service is being used which will give added ideas on improving your offering.

There are still different ways on getting feedback from consumers like a focus group or a phone survey. Use the method you think you will get the most truthful answer from and within your own budget.

Most importantly, the feedback that you do receive, make sure you take it with a grain of salt and use what you can to improve your company.

Do you get feedback from your consumer? How do you get it? How did you use that information in the end?

Have an awesome week.

Kevin

Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for different groups and donates platelets at the Canadian Blood Services clinic on a bi-weekly basis.

Kevin is hosting three social media workshops at 14920 Stony Plain Rd NW, Edmonton, AB T5P 3X8 (Pura Vida Mind Body Soul). The March 29, 2016 workshop will be about Facebook, April 26, 2016 will be about Twitter, while the May 24, 2016 workshop will be covering LinkedIn. All session run from 6.00pm to 8.30pm. Food and refreshments will be available. You can register here.

For help with your business, contact Kevin at kevin@L6SBC.ca or 780-868-1867.